How to Clean Slippers Properly (Step by Step Guide)

I believe everyone should own at least a pair of slippers at home. It is such a convenient indoor accessory that will make your activity comfier. So, on this occasion, I shall share my experience on how to clean slippers properly!

What is the point of slippers?

Slippers are ideal for indoor use, particularly at home. Also known as house shoes in the southern part of the US, they provide both protection and comfort for your feet from any sharp objects, microbes, dirt, and germs that are invisible to the eye. I’ve been wearing slippers while at home for a long time, and I’ve never been more comfortable and healthy now.

Is it better for your feet to wear slippers?

Yes, It is better for your feet to wear slippers. Wearing slippers can be beneficial for your feet, and here are the reasons why. Slippers prevent your feet from germs that can cause disease or infections. Ever since I started to wear slippers at home, it feels so much more comfortable and safe walking around without worrying that I stepped on something that can hurt my feet.

Furthermore, wearing slippers can ease your feet from discomfort and tension, keep them warm and let the blood circulate easier. I have cold feet that make me prone to get sick from the flu. After I wear slippers frequently, my feet are much warmer and I feel much better physically.

Should you wear slippers all day?

You should not wear slippers all day. Although slippers can protect your feet indoors, wearing them all day can cause greater health issues. Slippers are not ideal for daily wear because their shape and structure don’t support your feet for some time. Slipper-wearers tend to drag their feet while walking because their feet need to grasp the slipper, and this condition impairs their gait. Not only that, wearing slippers all day can cause toe deformity and make your feet dry from excessive rubbing. 

Ideally, you can wear slippers just occasionally, like while lounging or relaxing. From my experience, I only use slippers when getting out of bed and take them off when I’m heading to the bathroom. To prevent dryness from wearing slippers, I apply some moisturizer on my feet.

How often should I clean my slippers?

Ideally, you need to clean slippers regularly once every month, although you can do this frequently if needed. This is because the slippers might catch bacteria from frequent use and become a perfect place for them to grow. As for me, I clean my slippers once a month. That way, I can keep them clean but still maintain the slippers’ integrity. Remember that excessive washing may damage your slippers!

How to clean slippers

Although the term slippers sometimes overlap with flip-flops or sandals, they have become popular for as long as we can remember. In some areas, slippers are also known as house shoes, referring to their function as indoor footwear. These days, you can find slippers made from various materials for different purposes. From warm slippers for winter and open-toe ones perfect for warmer days to fuzzy slippers and rubber ones, there are many of them.

Owning a pair of slippers also means that you need to take care of them. Just like any other shoes, you need to clean them regularly even though they’re only for indoor activities only. Cleaning slippers can be a bit tricky. After all, you don’t want to damage them by unsuitable ways of cleaning. Luckily, this article has compiled some easy steps on how to clean slippers properly. I’ve tested the steps, and the result is magnificent! Keep reading to see more of them.

A. Slippers Cleaning Kits

#1 Shoe cleaner

how to clean slippers

A shoe cleaner is a cleaning agent specialized for cleaning your footwear. Another alternative if you don’t have one is using a mild liquid detergent, or you can also clean the slippers with just running water.

#2 Apron

how to clean slippers

Use an apron to keep your clothes clean and dry while cleaning slippers.

#3 Premium brush

how to clean slippers

To clean slippers, you’ll need three different types of brush. The first is a premium brush, used for cleaning the upper slippers. The brush’s bristles are from soft animal hair, which is perfect for removing dirt and stains without leaving scratches and damage.

#4 Standard brush

how to clean slippers

Moving on to the next item, we have a standard brush with strong bristles that can remove dirt and small particles from the slipper’s outsole without fuss.

#5 Small brush or toothbrush

how to clean slippers

Next, you’ll need a small brush to clean the inner part of the slippers. The brush is perfect for cleaning the narrow and hard-to-reach parts. I recommend that you use a toothbrush instead if you don’t have one. It’ll work just as well and cost less!

#6 Microfiber cloth

how to clean slippers

To wipe the suds and dirt off from slippers, use a microfiber cloth to do the job.

#7 Washbowl

how to clean slippers

The last item necessary for cleaning slippers is a washbowl, which serves as a container for mixing water and shoe cleaner later on.

B. Using the proper brush for each slipper part

– Sole

As you might recognize from the name, this part is on the bottom of your slipper and has direct contact with the surface. The sole uses rubber, EVA polymer, or anti-slip fabrics. To get rid of dirt from the sole, use a strong and hardy standard brush.

– Upper

Also known as the inner sole, the upper part is where your foot lands while wearing slippers. Use a soft premium brush to scrub the dirt off the rubber and prevent damage or scratches. You can also use a small brush or, as I’ve mentioned, a toothbrush to clean the narrow parts where neither standard nor premium brushes can reach.

C. How to clean slippers by hand

Now let’s get to the tutorial on how to clean slippers manually. I’ve tested this method myself, and it’s safe to say that the result is not disappointing!

– Prepare the dirty slippers

how to clean slippers

The first step is getting a pair of dirty slippers ready for cleaning.

– Get the cleaning kits ready

how to clean slippers

Now let’s take the cleaning kits mentioned before to the table. Wear an apron, then get the shoe cleaner, a set of brushes (premium, standard, and small or toothbrush), a microfiber cloth, and a washbowl ready. Mix the shoe cleaner with water until the water turns soapy, and set aside.

– Clean the sole

how to clean slippers

The next step is cleaning the slipper sole. Dip a standard brush into the soapy water, then start the scrubbing. Repeat the process as you need until the sole turns clean, then wipe it using a microfiber cloth.

– Clean the upper

how to clean slippers

After cleaning the sole, now let’s move to the upper. Similar to the previous step, only this time, replace the standard brush with a premium one. Scrub the dirt and stains off from the upper. Repeat if necessary. Please clean the upper gently, so you don’t leave scratches or damage in the future. After that, wipe the upper slipper with a microfiber cloth.

If you don’t have a shoe cleaner, try these steps. Scrub the slippers carefully under running water until all dirt and stains are coming off. After your slippers look clean, wipe them with a microfiber cloth. In my opinion, cleaning slippers with soapy water and running water are equally ideal and will give you similar results.

– Detailing

how to clean slippers

Sometimes, scrubbing isn’t enough, as you might miss small details on the slippers. Damp a microfiber cloth, then use it to clean the dirty details of the slippers.

You can substitute the microfiber cloth with wet tissues or a damp clean cloth to do the job, but I must say that the microfiber cloth is the best among the three. This is because the durability and water absorbance in microfiber cloth is far superior and clean much more efficiently.

– Drying

how to clean slippers

After ensuring the slippers are clean and no more dirt is left behind, leave the slippers to air dry. I use a fan to help with the drying process, and it takes around one to two hours. The same goes for a hair dryer, in which I use a cool setting to dry the slippers.

Don’t dry slippers under direct sunlight, especially if it’s mainly from rubber. This is because rubber shrinks when you expose it to extreme heat, like under the sun or with a dryer.

– Finishing

how to clean slippers

After the slippers are dry and clean, now they’re ready to wear again.

D. How to clean slippers with rubber soles

Most slippers have rubber for their soles. Similar to shoes, the rubber sole has direct contact with the ground; thus, some specks of dirt and dust are stuck there. Here’s my guide on how to clean slippers with rubber soles.

  1. Dust the dirt and debris from the slipper sole with a strong and stiff-bristled brush.
  2. Mix warm water with a few drops of gentle dish soap until the water turns soapy.
  3. Damp a clean cloth into the cleaning solution, then start wiping the rubber soles.
  4. Allow to air dry for a few minutes.

In my case, I use a toothbrush to remove debris and small particles that get stuck to the rubber sole of the slippers, and it works perfectly. The cleaning liquid is optional, especially if the sole is super dirty.

E. How to clean slippers that smell

Smelly slippers are caused by bacteria buildups and moisture that gets into your house shoes. To get rid of the unpleasant odor, I usually use affordable and safe home ingredients, such as vinegar and baking soda. Here are some easy steps that you can try at home too:

Vinegar and water mixture

  1. Mix white vinegar and water with a ratio of 1:1, then put the solution into a spray bottle.
  2. Spray the solution into the inner slippers to dampen them.
  3. Let sit until the vinegar smell is gone

After using vinegar, I can say that the unpleasant smell in my slippers is gone, but this only works for not faint odor. For deep cleaning your slippers or if the smell persists, follow these steps.

Using baking soda

  1. Pour some baking soda into the interior of the slipper to absorb the unpleasant odor and bacteria. Let them sit for a few hours.
  2. Remove the excess baking soda with a vacuum.
  3. Mix warm water with mild detergent, then damp clean cloth with the solution.
  4. Wipe the inner slippers with a cloth to sanitize your slippers and clean them from stains.
  5. Let the slippers air dry, and your slippers now smell fresher than ever.

In my opinion, baking soda is the perfect option to absorb stubborn smells on the slippers. It also neutralizes and freshens your slipper. Furthermore, baking soda doesn’t mask your smelly slippers like perfume or other room fresheners.

F. How to clean non-washable slippers

There are various types of slippers, including non-washable ones. This type of slipper doesn’t catch as much dust and stains as the other slippers. Either way, it’s important to clean them when you notice dirt or stained spots on them. Here is how to clean non-washable slippers.

  1. Brush the slippers off from dust and other small particles with a regular brush.
  2. Damp the towel with warm water, then wipe the stains off from the slippers. Make sure that you don’t make it drenched, or you can replace the towel with wet tissues. 
  3. Let them air dry for a few hours.

Non-washable slippers don’t go well with water, so you need extra care to clean them. I recommend cleaning them with a dry brush to remove dust and dirt from the slippers. As for removing the stains, I prefer to use wet tissues to do the job.

G. How to clean leather slippers

As you know, leather goods need extra careful maintenance to keep them looking good. Leather slippers are no exception to this. Here are some safe ways to clean leather slippers.

  1. Clean the leather surface with a shoe brush to remove dust and debris. As an alternative, you can replace the brush with a clean cloth.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix water with a few drops of leather soap (or use Castile soap) well.
  3. Dab a toothbrush into the mixture, then start scrubbing the leather part gently. If you’re worried about leaving scratches on the delicate material, replace the brush with a clean washcloth and wipe the surface.
  4. Let them sit to air dry. You can also use a fan to speed up the drying process.
  5. After your shoes are clean and dry, apply a small amount of leather conditioner onto the surface of the slippers. Wipe the excess conditioner away and let the slippers absorb the moisturizer.
  6. Polish your slippers with a soft-bristled brush or cloth.

In my experience cleaning leather slippers, it’s best not to use leather soap, which doesn’t contain damaging ingredients to the sensitive materials. The same goes for the mild and natural Castile soap, which is safe for cleaning leather. 

Another item required while cleaning leather slippers is leather conditioner. I’ve used leather conditioners to moisturize and prevent creases and cracks on the leather surface, and the result doesn’t disappoint at all!

H. How to clean Champion slippers

Champion slippers are another type of house made by the titular American brand. Their slippers are not only for indoor use but also perfect for outdoor occasions. Here’s our guide on how to clean Champion slippers.

  1. Combine warm water and mild detergent until form soapy water.
  2. Rub the slippers gently, either by hand or soft brush, then give a quick soak.
  3. Rinse the slippers thoroughly and squeeze the water out of them.
  4. Pat the slippers using a clean and dry towel to absorb excess water.
  5. Let the slippers air dry.

In my opinion, washing slippers manually is the best and safest option. It’s because you don’t risk the house shoes being thrown around at the machine and increasing the damage potential.

Can you wash fluffy slippers?

Yes, you can wash fluffy slippers either by hand or using a washing machine. Here is the tutorial on how to wash fluffy slippers manually and in the washer, respectively.

Cleaning by hand

  1. Combine some warm water with a mild detergent until all is dissolved and mixed properly.
  2. Dip a clean cloth into the cleaning mixture, then start working on your slippers. Rub the inside, sole, and hard-to-reach area.
  3. Rinse the slipper with warm water, and squeeze them out carefully to remove excess water. Use a towel to wrap the slippers and absorb the remaining moisture.
  4. Dry them on a cloth line and avoid direct sunlight.

As I see it, cleaning fluffy slippers manually with hands is the safest method to ensure the fuzz to not fall apart and keeps the slippers’ life longer.

Cleaning in a washer

  1. Read the tag on your slippers to ensure that they’re safe to wash in a washing machine.
  2. Damp the slippers first with the cleaning mixture similar to the previous tutorial.
  3. Put the slippers in a laundry bag before throwing them into the washing machine. You can use clothes or towels to balance the weight and prevent excessive banging.
  4. Start the washing process with cold water at the slowest speed for a short time.
  5. Take the slippers out from the bag, then wrap them with a dry towel to absorb the excess water.
  6. Hang the slippers in a cloth line and let them air dry.

It’s a bit risky washing a pair of fluffy slippers in a washer. With that being said, you need to make sure that your slippers are safe to wash in a machine.

To make the inside part of the slipper fluffy again, you can use a hair dryer. Turn it on at the lowest heat (or cool setting if your hair dryer is more advanced) and start working on the fuzz. Make sure that it doesn’t get too hot, or the glue will be damaged. I’ve tried this trick with the cool setting, and it works!

Do’s and don’ts

Do’s

  • Clean the slippers frequently.
  • Wear slippers while lounging at home.
  • Use shoe cleaner or running water to clean the slippers.
  • Spray enough shoe perfume if needed.

Don’ts

Slipper care tips

#1 Only wear slippers for indoor activities

how to clean slippers

To keep your slippers life last longer, you need to wear them according to their functions. Slippers are designed for indoor footwear, and it’s best to wear them just like that. But if you need a pair of outdoor slippers, make sure that you check for their outsole durability and resistance.

#2 Always clean the slippers regularly by hand

Although slippers are only worn indoors, it’s also important to clean them regularly to prevent dirt accumulation, microorganism infestation, and unpleasant odor caused by wear. Ideally, you need to clean slippers regularly to keep them clean but not too often to prevent damage. In my experience, once every month is the best time interval for cleaning slippers without getting overwashed.

I always clean my slippers manually. It’s because slippers’ materials are much softer compared to other footwear. Putting your slippers in a washer isn’t recommended because it can potentially damage the structure and shorten the slippers’ life. Read the slippers’ instruction care first to understand whether they’re safe to put in a washer.

#3 Don’t put slippers in a dryer

Heat is slippers’ greatest enemy, especially rubber ones because the heat can warp the soles and shrink them. Putting slippers in a dryer is a bad idea because not only do your slippers get shrunk, but they also get damaged. 

It’s best to air-dry slippers after being cleaned. You can also use a fan to speed up the drying process. I often use a hair dryer in a cool setting to help the slippers to dry, especially if the slippers are fuzzy or fluffy.

#4 Store slippers in a place away from pets

It’s not very common for dogs to gnaw on things, although some adult dogs do it to relieve their stress and anxiety, while canine puppies tend to chew stuff (including slippers) while teething. On the other hand, when cats are bored, they will find anything to munch on and give the stimulation they seek. 

If you own a four-legged furry companion in your home, it’s best to keep your slippers away and store them somewhere safe. Usually, I keep my slippers in a closed shoe rack with little holes to let the air circulate and prevent my pets from reaching them.

#5 Replace the slippers if they’re damaged or worn down

Nothing lasts forever, even your beloved slippers! I’ve experienced my slippers being worn down after a few years of use. Of course, slippers’ lifetime depends on how often you wear them, what materials they are from, and the care itself. Eventually, when they get tattered, ripped, and hollowed after a long period of use, slippers can’t get back to their former condition. 

There’s no other way besides getting a new pair of slippers to replace the old, worn-down ones. Preferably, you need to change the house shoes when you notice damage on them. The more often you wear slippers, it’s more likely you are to get a new replacement in case they’re damaged.

#6 Make sure your feet are clean and dry before wearing slippers

Don’t wear slippers directly after taking your shoes and socks off, especially when your feet are sweaty. Slippers, especially the ones with enclosed toes, are the perfect place for microbes and bacteria to grow rapidly. When you put your dirty and sweaty feet into the slippers, the humid environment accelerates the microorganism’s growth and causes plenty of issues. The slippers might have an unpleasant odor and are more likely to get damaged. 

To prevent those issues, wash your feet clean and pat them dry before wearing slippers. If the slippers are smelly already, pour some baking soda on the inside and let them sit for 24 hours. Baking soda acts as an air neutralizer and kills bacteria. Shake the excess off or use a vacuum to suck them out. I’ve tested this trick and I must say I’m impressed with the result.

Conclusion

I believe that I have nothing left to teach you! I’ve highlighted all the important points and steps that I know related to cleaning a pair of slippers. Now it is up to you to follow them! But to sum up, cleaning your slipper regularly is important. Even though you only use them indoors, slippers may get contaminated with bacteria and dust.

To clean your slippers, you can follow my comprehensive guide above. Basically, you need to know what type of slippers you have and use the best method accordingly. You can use either specialized tools or alternative tools to clean them. Either way, do not neglect your slipper hygiene, and happy cleaning!

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Frequently Asked Questions Related to Slippers

What is the best way to clean slippers?

The most simple way to clean slippers is by using just running water and rubbing them gently. Wipe the slippers with a clean cloth after cleaning. To ensure cleanliness, add a mild laundry detergent to the water and mix well.

How do you clean smelly slippers?

To remove unpleasant smells from slippers, there are some ways to do so. Get a shoe perfume and spray it to cover the smell up. Another home ingredient that can absorb odor in slippers and make them smell fresh is baking soda. Sprinkle a bit of it then leave for a few hours. Remove the excess baking soda with a vacuum cleaner, or simply knock them off, and good riddance to the foul smell!

How do you wash slippers with rubber soles in the washing machine?

There’s no need to rubber soled slippers in a washing machine. The reason is that they need gentle care by hand, the total opposite of what the washing machine does. The banging and knocking while in the washer lead to damaged slippers and cause more problems.